Sunday, November 30, 2014

Dirty Dishes

I just started the dishwasher for what seems like the 100th time in the past 5 days.  It is simply amazing the amount of dishes two almost teenagers and a husband can create when they are home from work and school.  Tomorrow things will be back to normal for 3 weeks and then winter break will be here and we'll start again. 

In the past, any time there was a break from the normal routine of school and activities it was an excuse to drink more.  Any time the dishes were piled up high in the sink I couldn't help but think of how a glass of wine would make the task so much better (which is pretty ironic because in the long run I'd lose all motivation to do anything while drinking).   

I have proven to myself over the past 5 days that I CAN in fact do the dishes without wine.  I can play board games without wine.  I can survive a major holiday without wine.  I can tell my friends and family that I no longer drink.

December will be difficult but I do feel confident in my ability to remain sober.  I feel very determined as my sober momentum continues to grow slowly but surly. 

Looking forward to a sober December.  Who's with me?

Saturday, November 29, 2014

That was Unexpected

As I sit here on day 42, exactly 6 weeks from the day I had my last drink, I am thinking about what has surprised me the most so far in this journey.

If you had told me 6 months ago that I would be blogging I would have never believed it.  I have never considered my self a writer and I would have thought of blogging as a chore.  Now as I wake up each morning I am immediately thinking about what I might want to write about.  Things I have learned, experiences I have had.  Those first days I felt like there was so much in my head that I needed to get it out.  Writing about some of my worst drinking experiences was a way to acknowledge them and I can look back to them when I need a reminder. 

Of course I got the idea to start a blog from reading other blogs.  The first blog I stumbled upon during my day 1 hungover internet search was Mrs. D's.  She was telling my story!  Then I found another blog and she was also telling my story.  I sat for hours and hours those first few days reading blog after blog.  My favorites are all listed here on my page and I continue to discover more and more. 

That brings me to possibly the most unexpected and exciting part.  All of these people are in all different parts of the world!  And they are just like me.  I guess living in the United States had led me to think the world revolves around us and honestly I had never given much thought to it and of course when I decided to get sober I had no idea what I would find.

I have to admit that geography is NOT my thing, never was.  I've actually pulled up a map more than once to see where some of these people are.  I find myself wondering about all of these places I've never been.  What's it like there, what time is it there?  Unfortunately, it seems that the prevalence of alcohol is the same everywhere...that's what brings us together!

Friday, November 28, 2014

Major Holiday Sober ... Check!

Thanksgiving is over.  Well sort of.  Tomorrow is my mom's Thanksgiving and it will actually be more difficult because I'll be around other people.  My mom knows of my sobriety and said she'd support me by not drinking.  The others who will be there are all very normal drinkers and will be supportive.  We are making a gingerbread house with my kids as we have done for years and it's hard to picture myself getting through that without a glass of wine but I know I will.

Yesterday was the most uneventful Thanksgiving I've ever had.  After I came home from the gym I spent the rest of the day in my pajamas and the turkey was good!

I guess I've now made it a habit of watching my husband drink.  When I was drinking with him I think I was too worried about how I could get the majority of the wine that I never noticed just how boring of a drinker he is.  Of course he has had too much on occasion, but it is very rare.

Anyhow, yesterday he opened a special bottle of wine.  Special because it is from a winery we have been to and was a gift.  I never saw him pour more, but I know he either had one large glass or 2 small (normal) glasses because there is about half a bottle left.  HALF A BOTTLE LEFT?  Still fascinated by someone who can do that.  Especially on a holiday.  He doesn't have to go to work today, it was a really good bottle of wine, it was a gift, etc.  All the reasons my brain would have told me to finish it and probably open another. 

I'm really worried about the rest of that wine going bad.  And yes there is a part of me that is just sad about not having any.  Don't worry, I'm not going to drink it...but that leads me to the other interesting thing that happened yesterday.

When my husband opened the wine I grabbed the bottle and said I wanted to smell it.  My son saw me grab the bottle and said, "Mom, drink water with me!"  This sort of stopped me in my tracks for a moment.  He knows I've stopped drinking and I've mentioned my blog.  He hasn't actually read it but thinks it's cool that it gets hits from different countries and things like that.  So he knows generally what I'm doing but I haven't made too much of a big deal about it.  So I was a little surprised by his reaction and am curious what it was all about.  Does he just want me to succeed in something I've started or does he genuinely not like it (me) when I drink wine? I'm pretty sure I know the answer. 

I think the point is that I am learning more and more that my kids have been affected by my drinking.  It was so easy to tell myself that it was fine and that everyone else does it and they didn't really know what was going on.  Hopefully the good example I can provide now will be enough to offset the bad.  My daughter is really only about 3 years away from the age I was when I had my first drink.

The other thing I did yesterday was read...a lot.  I love to read and have spent a ton of time reading blogs and books about recovery in the last month and a half.  In fact, that is a huge part of me getting this far.  Yesterday though, I decided to read a regular old book and it was great to read a normal book again!

Thursday, November 27, 2014

"One Time When Mom Was Drunk"

I hated writing that title and I hate the fact that those words came out of my daughter's mouth just the other day.  She was talking about something I had said while drinking and it was true and it was something I would have said whether or not I had been drinking.  But even though I did say it and do believe it, it doesn't change the fact that she was aware of the drinking and thinks it changes what I say and how I act.

Yesterday was a trigger filled day for me.  No school, no evening activities, slight boredom.  A perfect day to open a bottle of wine (early) and drink all afternoon (I didn't).  Then my husband came home from work and poured himself a glass of wine and wanted to play a board game.  Board games are a huge trigger for me.  I feel like such a shitty person when I say this but for whatever reason I always felt like I needed wine to sit down and play a game with my family.  I remember the first time we taught the kids how to play Monopoly.  There were three empty wine bottles on the counter by the time the game was over.

Even though the thought made me grumpy, last night I poured myself a sparkling water/cranberry drink with lime and played cards with my family.  It can be done!  Then I watched with fascination as my husband finished his (ONE!) glass of wine and put the glass in the sink.  I was thinking that one would have never been enough for me.  It's always so crazy to me when someone really does just drink one glass of wine.

Today is Thanksgiving.  I'm starting with my favorite exercise class at the gym and I'm cooking a turkey for the first time in my life!  There might be more board games in my future this afternoon and I'm ready!

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Focus on the Mashed Potatoes

Thanksgiving is different this year. 

Not only am I going to be sober, but our usual plans have fallen apart. 

The holidays stress me out.  We have lots of family near us.  My parents (who are divorced), and also my in-laws.  I love having so many people around us who love us, but it always causes me stress on holidays because we cannot be in more than one place at a time.  As a people pleaser, I don't want to hurt anyone's feelings.  We've tried different things over the years...visiting multiple places during the same day, trading off years at different places, celebrating with some people on a different day.

This year it looks as though we may be spending Thanksgiving at home and celebrating with some of my family on the Saturday after.  I've never cooked a turkey in my life...can you believe it?  This might just be the year.  I told my husband I'd be fine to order pizza but I really think he wants to give it a try.

I think I associate Thanksgiving more than any other holiday with wine.  It's the first thing I think of.  The second thing I think of is mashed potatoes (yum!).  This year I will look forward to and focus on the mashed potatoes. 

Monday, November 24, 2014

Successful Weekend... Check!

I was "away" this weekend (next city over) at an event I've attended before.  It was fun and good to reconnect with some other moms.  There was only a little talk about alcohol (and how we snuck wine in coffee cups last year).  At the beginning of the main event I got a tea from Starbucks and the rest is history! 

This video has been posted in a few places so maybe you've seen it already.  I like it though and wanted to post it here.  It makes me sad and hits home for me. 

Friday, November 21, 2014

The Dream

I had the dream last night.  Something similar happened the last time I had about a month of being sober.

I was sitting on the couch drinking a glass of white wine (which is strange because would have much preferred red, ha!)  After I had finished about half the glass I suddenly remembered that I don't drink anymore.  I freaked out, I was going to have to start again at day 1!  I asked my husband why he didn't stop me and he just gave me a puzzled look.  Thank goodness it was only a dream.

This weekend I am going to an event that has nothing to do with alcohol.  But last year some of the people I was with and I were drinking wine at this same event.  So I got a text from one of these people with of a picture of the wine she was packing for the weekend.  I feel like I am letting her down in a way by not drinking with her.  I hadn't told her yet that I'd stopped, so I told her via text and joked that I'd tell her about it over a glass of wine but that I'd drink tea.  Interestingly, she was with me over the summer when I drank again after 47 days of being sober.  She didn't pressure me or anything like that, I just decided (no one had to twist my arm) that I wanted to drink.  But not this time.  I will not be drinking this weekend!

Thursday, November 20, 2014


Something is starting to click in my brain just a little bit.  Of course I know I have a problem with alcohol...that's why we're here.  But as I've been listening to podcasts from Belle and The Bubble Hour, and also connecting with people in the Booze Free Brigade (BFB), I am realizing that others with alcohol issues also have similar personality characteristics.  Things like being a people pleaser, getting overwhelmed easily, being controlling, all or nothing thinking, low self-esteem, social awkwardness, perfectionism.  I was under the impression that alcohol was the problem, but there are so many other areas of myself that need work.  This is maybe a slightly depressing realization because of course I have no idea how to make these things better.

But as Dr. Phil would say, "you can't change what you don't acknowledge."  Figuring out what I need to work on has to be a good first step, right?

There is a quote that stuck out in my mind from Fifty Shades of Grey.  (Yes I read it...didn't you?)  Christian tells Anastasia, "Because I'm fifty shades of fucked-up."  I guess it stayed in my mind because I feel like it applies to me. 

Ok, so now what?

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

[Insert Clever Title Here]

Now that I have completed the first 30 days I plan to start giving my blog posts a title with words and not just day counts.  I'll throw in an occasional day count as I reach certain milestones I'm sure.

I can count on one hand (5) the number of people I know in my personal life who are non drinkers.  Yesterday at the gym I ran into one of these people and she told me to send her my email address for something totally unrelated.  As I was sending it to her I thought to myself, "You know she doesn't drink, why not ask her about it? It might be good to reach out to another sober person.  Maybe she has some tips."

So I did.  I told her I'd stopped drinking about a month ago and did she have any tips for me?  We exchanged a few emails back and forth and not only did she open up about her non drinking, she also opened up about other addiction related things that have shaped her life. 

Her story is interesting to me because she was apparently not at all a heavy drinker and had just one bad experience with drinking and then decided to give it up.  She shared that it has been very difficult socially, which of course was not a surprise. 

This person and I are Facebook friends and during our email exchange she said something along the lines of "I don't know if you know this about Facebook is not me".  I have thought about this before and discussed it with other friends.  It's rare, if at all, that anyone's Facebook is the real them.  Wouldn't it be crazy if we all put our real shit out there for everyone to see!?!

Whenever I hear someone else's story of sobriety I inevitably find myself comparing my story with theirs.  Often times I find myself saying "I wasn't that bad".  In a way that makes me feel better but it is also dangerous because it can lead to thinking things like "I wasn't that bad, maybe I don't need to stop", etc.  In this case, My drinking was obviously worse than hers, yet she chose to quit.  Therefore my quitting is definitely justified. 

Blogging has been a fantastic release for me and I get so excited that people are actually visiting my page and even more excited when they leave a comment.  I am also finding that each time I tell someone in my real life I feel a small amount of relief as well.  I think both are important.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Day 30

Today is day 30 and it does feel like a small accomplishment.  I've previously made it to 47 days so I'm really going to feel accomplished when I get that far this time.  Honestly, the 30 days has gone by very quickly.  Overall it's been fairly easy.  I feel like my challenges will come over the next couple of months with the holidays, parties and socializing inevitably approaching. 

I told my mom yesterday that I was done drinking and she said "I support that".  I knew she would support me but it does feel good to talk about it and slowly tell more people of my intentions.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Day 29

Well I have over 400 page views!  It is such a strange feeling to know that people are reading this.  Even from other countries, that is very cool to me.  Still not very many comments if you are reading this feel free to leave a comment!

All weekend I have had this recurring thought that sometimes I just plain "suck at life".  Small things overwhelm me and I am a complete control freak.  I am sure I am very hard to live with.  Wine was sure good for dulling the negative thoughts that run through my brain.  After a couple of glasses, nothing seemed overwhelming and I could care less about controlling everything.  I suppose I need to learn better ways to deal with life in general.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Day 26

Twice over the past couple of years I've been talking to someone when they said "I don't drink".  Both times I was surprised and felt a sudden sense of envy.  I also had lots of questions but didn't ask because I just wasn't sure if it was appropriate.  My response both times was "I drink too much", followed by a little chuckle.

I remember very clearly wanting to be just like them.  I wanted it to be just that easy to say that I don't drink.  I'm hoping in the future I can drop that in a conversation just as easily....that it will be my new normal.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Still Day 25

Look at me, I'm posting twice on a day when I had nothing to say.

It's cold and snowy here today (which I love), and my daughters evening activities have been cancelled.  This is a trigger for me as normally what I would have done upon learning we were in for the evening is immediately open a bottle of wine and have "just one glass".  Just one glass would equal a bottle of course.

Instead, what I am going to do is light a candle, drink some hot tea and read a book.  Maybe light a fire, hang out with my kids, watch some TV?

No, I will not be drinking wine.  Yes, I'll probably be thinking about drinking wine.

Day 25

I really didn't have anything to say today and then I just received an email,  It said in part:

"You need to get wine before Thanksgiving and we made it easy."

"You're going to be drinking loads of wine over the next couple of weeks."

I have to admit Thanksgiving makes me nervous.  The first thing I think about is a nice glass of wine.  I just need to remind myself that I would turn in to much more.  When I read this email all I could think was "wow!"  And of course I, I am not going to be drinking loads of wine over the next couple of weeks.  This is just a reminder about how prevalent alcohol is in our society.  The advertisements are everywhere, as if I wasn't already thinking about it enough.

I think I'll go now and unsubscribe from this email list...

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Day 24

A cool thing happened last night.  I have been trying to actually comment on blogs instead of just lurking around and then Rachel said she had read my blog.  I got a cool butterfly in the stomach kind of feeling!  I really did love her book, I could relate to it so much.  I will be reading it again soon.

The other thing I've been thinking about a lot lately is this feeling that my problem isn't/wasn't that bad.  I KNOW I have a problem with alcohol and the way my brain works regarding it.  I also know I need/want to stop drinking.  I think what's bothering me is when I hear other peoples stories I almost feel guilty for never have gotten "that bad".  I love hearing from other people and being able to relate to others has helped me so much.  It takes a lot of courage to share terrible things that have happened.
They say alcohol addiction is like an elevator going down and people get off at different floors.  While some bad things have happened while drinking, I'd say I never reached a hard rock bottom.  So you could say I had a high bottom I suppose.  Something else that I keel getting hung up on is the fact that I was not drinking every day or physically addicted.  But as I said I KNOW I have a problem and for me this is what defines it:
I would always drink more that I wanted or intended to.  Yes there have been times in my life where I really only did have one or two but they were few and far between.  Also, anytime when that happened I had to concentrate and focus with all of my strength to make it happen. 
The part I hated the most was waking up in the middle of the night and not being able to go back to sleep.  I would lay there and ask myself "WHY"?  I would tell myself that I wouldn't do it again, but I always did it again.  The feeling of having lost control.  Then of course this was followed by a terrible hangover the next day.  I would spend my hungover days wishing the day was over and I hated that.
Another indicator for me is the constant obsession in my head regarding alcohol.  Always thinking about it.  The constant negotiating.  It just can't be "normal" to have this going on in my mind ALL THE TIME. 

Monday, November 10, 2014

Still Day 23

I must be in the mood for rambling today.  I feel like I have more to say on the topic of will I/won't I ever drink again.  For some reason it feels important to say "I don't know".  I might and I might not.  I don't plan to for a very long time.  I would like to get to day 100, one year, day 500.  In fact, I am going to calculate when day 100 will be.  Ok, according to my calculations, day 100 will be January 26th, 2015.  That's a good starting goal. 

Also, I mentioned a few days ago that I had told a couple of my closest friends of my sobriety (by text, casually).  We text back and forth daily and over the weekend the friend who I'd been most scared to tell made at least 6 comments which irritated me.  She flat out asked if I wanted to come over for a drink and also told me that I was no fun, getting old and that I only live once and should have some fun.  That was hard to hear for someone who is worried about getting old and being no fun!  Of course I hadn't made a big deal about becoming sober but this let me know that it was on her mind.  I mostly ignored the comments and honestly expected them but I did feel irritated.

Day 23

So what I've been struggling with and getting hung up on is FOREVER.  I know...that's why you are suppose to think about it one day at a time and all that.  I keep having these crazy thoughts...what if someone dies, will I drink then?  What if I get diagnosed with a terrible disease, will I drink then?  What if I'm sober for 10 years...will I drink on my 50th birthday?  What if one day I just want to have a drink...will I drink then, and if I do does that mean I have relapsed? (Of course I know I won't just have one drink).

And then I'm thinking about the whole idea of relapse.  I hate the word, it sounds so tragic.  So I'm sitting here thinking...let's say I started this saying I was going to quit drinking for 100 days.  Then on day 100 I would have succeeded.  So if I decided to have a drink on day 101 it would be a bad idea but I wouldn't necessarily consider it a relapse because I had never decided to quit drinking forever in the first place.  But on the other hand if I started out saying I was done for good and had a drink on day 101, or any other day, it would be a failure and a relapse.

I feel like this is a lot of rambling, but these are the crazy thoughts going through my mind lately (and no I'm not planning on drinking anytime soon). 

Wolfie, of course is the name Belle uses for the voice of our addiction.  The voice in your head that convinces you to drink.  One of the classic lines wolfie would always use on me was "You are an can do what you want.  You can drink if you want to because you are an adult".  Yes I am an adult and I'd like to think instead that it means that I won't drink too much and act like a jackass!

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Day 21

Another Saturday with no hangover, it feels good.

Busy with the kids activities today and it feels good to feel good.

Last night was my first time eating out since I officially quit drinking.  On the way to the restaurant I felt grumpy and slightly anxious.  We were meeting my in-laws and I thought there'd be more people there but it turned out to be just them and I was glad for that.  I drank water, my husband had a couple of margaritas.  Overall it was easy and fun and I enjoyed the conversation. 

My mother-in-law is a classic normal drinker.  I have known her for 20 years and NEVER seen her drink too much.  Always one or maybe two.  I have always noticed this and wondered how she did it and never wanted more.  I am aware that my brain does not work like that when it comes to alcohol.

Interestingly, my father-in-law does not drink.  I have seen him have a Bloody Mary maybe 5 times in the past 20 years.  Ever since I first met him I was always fascinated by the fact that he was a non drinker.  I'd often drink a lot and try to persuade him to drink, but it never worked.  I also remember many occasions when I'd been drinking and ask him questions about his non drinking.  I just could not grasp the idea that he just didn't drink.

When questioned last night about the fact that I hadn't ordered a drink I responded simply that I was "cutting down".  My father-in-law joked that he had been cutting down for the past 20 years and I joked back (but was serious) that I was following in his footsteps.

Friday, November 7, 2014

Day 20

Dry January

I've tried this now for the past 3 years and here's how it went.

January 2012 

My brother and sister in law brought up the idea of not drinking in January.  At this point I knew I drank too much but had never seriously thought about quitting for good. I am always trying to lose weight in January and this seemed like a great idea for lots of reasons.  They even had other members of my family on board.  I had good intentions but lasted only about 2 weeks.  We had people over for a football playoff game and it was very easy to talk myself into drinking.  I mean this wasn't even my idea to begin with, right?

January 2013

January went so well I even decided to go into February.  In fact I made it 45 days.  For Valentine's Day my husband wanted to go out for dinner and what's Valentine's Day dinner without wine...

January 2014

I made it exactly 31 days.  I specifically remember wanting wine so badly near the end that I was very focused on drinking again and planning out when and what and how.  I was also very glad that the Super Bowl was in February so I'd be able to drink.

I was planning to start this journey in January of 2015 and I'm glad I decided to start now instead.  By the time January rolls around I'll already be well on my way!

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Day 19

Good things are happening today!

I have a running text with 2 of my best friends and this morning I just casually put it out there that I was done drinking for good.  Guess what...the world didn't end.  Time will tell how it will be the next time I'm around them and they are drinking and I'm not but it feels good to put it out there and plant the seed.

Also, I have been missing my group fitness classes for about 6 weeks now because I am trying to recover from plantar fasciitis.  I've been wearing orthotics for a couple of weeks now and went to my dance class today.  It felt so good to be back!

Speaking of exercising...I can think of so many times I went to the gym hung-over because I was trying to prove to myself that my drinking was not a problem.  Of course sometimes I just felt too bad and couldn't make it but as long as I made it to class I could tell myself that I wasn't drinking too much.  One of my favorite classes is on Sunday morning and it will feel so good to feel good in class!

My son (11) had noticed the other day that I had created a blog.  He mentioned it again yesterday so I told him I had decided to stop drinking alcohol because I thought I was drinking too much and that's what the blog was about.   That was really the end of it.  I plan to talk to my kids more about all of this in the future.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Day 18

Things always seem better in the morning. Last night I was grouchy and weepy and just plain in a bad mood. Little things were getting under my skin. I feel so much better this morning after a good night of sleep.  I'm writing this down so I can remind myself that things will be better tomorrow. 

Speaking of the morning. As I'm drinking my coffee, I'm thinking about how much I love coffee and it's one of the things that makes the mornings great. After a night of drinking, one of the ways I would judge the severity of the hangover was based on whether or not I wanted coffee the next morning. Mild to moderate...still wanted coffee. Moderate to severe and the thought made me cringe. One more "gift of sobriety" is enjoying my coffee every day!

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Day 15

So it's been about 2 weeks and so far I've created 3 new "sober" email addresses!

First I needed a new anonymous email to join groups and receive emails and create a blog...done.

Then I didn't like the blog on Tumblr and needed a Gmail address to create this blog...done.

THEN I wanted my email address to match the name of my blog...DONE.

So I keep acting like a crazy person and joining and unjoining groups, subscribing and unsubscribing to blogs and newsletters. 

Compulsive much?

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Day 14

Well It seems as if my blog has been viewed which is an interesting (vulnerable)feeling.  Still waiting for my first comment!

Yesterday morning I had a conversation with one of my friends at the gym about quitting drinking.  It felt so good to talk about it.  She had a lot of questions and also always has a great perspective on things. 

Of course it was Halloween yesterday and as I was waiting in between trick-or-treaters I was having quite the conversation with myself.  It went like this:

"Maybe my problem isn't that bad, maybe I don't want to do this forever, a glass of wine sounds nice, why am I doing this to myself?"

But both when I climbed into bed and woke up this morning the feeling had passed and I was very glad.  I keep reminding myself about the things I hate about drinking.  In fact, here is a list I made a couple of years ago...note the time I made it, in the middle of the night when I couldn't sleep because I had been drinking.

I finished Jason Vale's book and am now reading "Mrs. D is Going Without".  I knew I'd love it because of how much her blog spoke to me and its not been a disappointment so far.  I love to read anyway and am especially enjoying the blogs and books I've found lately. 

Here's to a sober November!